MATT SMITH, ECO WARRIOR
Why did you want to shoot Levon Helms
Dirt Farmer as your album cover?
Well he died last week and was one of the
greatest musicians of our time. Wanted to put
a big thank you to Levon. Levon was the singer
and drummer of ‘The Band’ and sang from deep inside.
You don’t live the life of an average joe, workin out at
sea on sailboats all year long, do you ever miss life on
the land or would you be content to sail away the rest
of your days?
It makes me content at the moment that’s all i know. I often
used to be plagued with anxiety and I’m not at the moment.
Spending my life around the ocean, outside, with friends and
progressing is what is important. I plan to spend the most
part of my life on a boat, whether it be in the Pacific, the
Shannon River or Venice. Sailing gives you the opportunity
to always move your home. I have a romantic vision of being
a old man that is the captain of a small 10 person ferry that
runs twice a day and serves fine Italian coffee, and for the
rest of the day hang with my wife surfing not getting my hair
I know you’ve got pretty solid ideals about being able
to travel by the wind and cost the planet nothing.
What’s your take on the whole swell and comp chase in
jet planes and fast cars vibe in surfing?
100% each to their own. The progressing of comp and swell
surfing amp’s the fuck out of me at times. Sure things upset
me but that’s it they upset ME and I have had more than
my fair share of all of the fast cars etc. I just want to get to
a point where I am costing the world as close to nothing
as possible. I have a Mac and iPhone but still feel close to
nature, like a hippy. I like to sail at max 8 knots. Last week
we were in the Banda Sea in Indonesia we witnessed the
sunset with a humpback whale and pod of dolphins. These
magical experiences are not uncommon at sea so it would
be impossible not to live a certain way. The guys that are
doing the chasing are just doing what they need to do to feel
content and that’s great, I do feel that we could think about
the impact of it all a little. The ideals of being a pure surfer
and a pro surfer are a massive contradiction. I am a massive
contradiction but I do as much as I can.
Your a solid vegetarian but you are down with
catching, killing and eating fish for your dinner at sea
from time to time, do you think we’ve lost touch with
the basic natural law that says if you want to eat an
animal you should be able to kill it?
I’m an idealist not a realist. I think that things could be ideal
but think that realistically they wont be. I am a veggie and
wanna be a vegan but I share life aboard a boat with other
people and that would unfair. I don’t eat meat or fish because
I totally disagree with the meat and fish industries and will
not support them. We are living at a time when we know a
huge amount about the impact of the actions we take but
globally do nothing.
I guess all this time alone at sea lends itself toward
thinkin heavily over alot of things, is it all positive like
the vegetarianism and the planetary vibes, or does it
sometimes send a man clawin for some loose release?
Haha for sure, I’m a hot blooded male too, there is always
something that makes me wanna lose control. I crave that
feeling and getting wild can help. I had a gnarly one a few
years ago when I had a hard heart and went to sea, that trip
was dark and lonely enough at times but being out at sea
with all its beauty has never yet had a negative effect, and
I’m young and have no regrets.
Interview & Photos by Mickey Smith
In a maritime tradition dating back to St Brendan crossing the Atlantic in a canoe in the 6th century, Ireland's Matt Smith prefers floating on the sea surface for the salvation of his soul.